Greens call on new Minister to make up for refugee support not provided during pandemic

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

On World Refugee Day, the Green Party is calling on the new Minister for Immigration, Michael Wood to make up for the support that was not provided to people forced to leave their home countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For the past two years our refugee resettlement programme and refugee family reunification has been almost completely on hold. The new Minister must make up for this and do everything he can to ensure Aotearoa is supporting people who are not safe in their home countries,” says Green spokesperson for refugees, Golriz Ghahraman.

The Green Party is calling on Minister Wood to:

  • Commit to filling Aotearoa New Zealand’s full annual refugee quota – including a commitment to make up for the places not filled due to pandemic border closures
  • Commit to reunifying the full 600 refugee family members, including a commitment to fill places not filled due to pandemic border closures

“Since the start of the pandemic we have seen atrocities such as the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, a military coup in Myanmar, and the war in Ukraine adding to the devastating global refugee crisis. Closing the border made it much harder for people to come to Aotearoa and be supported in the ways this Government had promised.

“Michael Wood can make up for this by taking immediate action that will end the anxiety and heartbreak for people stranded in refugee camps, and families here who are waiting to see their loved ones still stuck in warzones or targeted by oppressive regimes.

“Aotearoa has a proud history of standing with those fleeing war and persecution, so it’s time for our Government to boost support for refugees, asylum seekers and their whanau as part of our pandemic reset.

“Last term, the Green Party ensured the number of refugee families able to be reunited here with their loved ones was doubled to 600 people per year, and that for the very first time there is funding to cover the cost of visas and travel.

“Refugees are members of the Rainbow community, ethnic or religious minorities, journalists and human rights campaigners. They are families uprooted by violence they do not want or deserve.

“Reaffirming our commitment to do our fair share to uphold the rights and dignity of refugees is the best way to uphold Aotearoa’s values of inclusion and equality this World Refugee Day.”

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